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NPR Contest: Following In Muybridge's Footsteps

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[The winners are in! See them here.]

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Aside from the fact that he insisted on incorporating extra vowels into his name and killed his wife's lover, Eadweard Muybridge was an unusual fellow. Long before the word "movie" even existed, he was playing around with stop-motion animation — devising ways to freeze sequences of motion and then reanimate them.

NPR-Corcoran Contest
Following In Muybridge's Footsteps
Concept: Create an Eadweard Muybridge-inspired piece. NPR will select three submissions to feature on the Picture Show blog and the Corcoran Web site.
What To Submit: It may be a stop-motion animation, sequence of stills or anything else you can come up with that moves Muybridge into 2010.
How to Submit: Videos should be submitted to YouTube through NPR's YouTube Direct channel below. Make sure to tag them NPRMuybridge. Photos should be submitted through Flickr and tagged NPRMuybridge. We will be getting in touch with you through Flickr and YouTube mail if your piece has been selected. You'll know if you've submitted photos correctly if they show up here.
Deadline: 11:59 p.m., May 15, 2010

As the Corcoran Gallery of Art opens the first-ever retrospective of his work, NPR wants to honor him with a little contest. The top three Muybridge-inspired creations will be featured on the Picture Show blog, as well as the official Corcoran Muybridge exhibition Web site.

  • Twisting Summersault, albumen silver print, 1879.
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    Twisting Summersault, albumen silver print, 1879.
    Courtesy Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries/Courtesy of Corcoran
  • Horses Running, albumen silver print, 1879.
    Hide caption
    Horses Running, albumen silver print, 1879.
    Courtesy National Gallery of Art/Courtesy of Corcoran
  • Athletes Posturing, albumen silver print, 1879.
    Hide caption
    Athletes Posturing, albumen silver print, 1879.
    Courtesy Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries/Courtesy of Corcoran
  • Cockatoo flying, 1887.
    Hide caption
    Cockatoo flying, 1887.
    Corcoran Gallery of Art/Courtesy of Corcoran
  • Emptying bucket of water, collotype on paper, 1887.
    Hide caption
    Emptying bucket of water, collotype on paper, 1887.
    Corcoran Gallery of Art/Courtesy of Corcoran
  • Dancing fancy, plate, 1887.
    Hide caption
    Dancing fancy, plate, 1887.
    Corcoran Gallery of Art/Courtesy of Corcoran
  • Descending stairs, turning, cup and saucer in right hand, collotype on paper, 1887.
    Hide caption
    Descending stairs, turning, cup and saucer in right hand, collotype on paper, 1887.
    Corcoran Gallery of Art/Courtesy of Corcoran
  • Walking, two models meeting, and partly turning, collotype on paper, 1887.
    Hide caption
    Walking, two models meeting, and partly turning, collotype on paper, 1887.
    Corcoran Gallery of Art/Courtesy of Corcoran

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Anything that is inspired by this bearded genius will do.  It may be a stop-motion animation film or a single image. Perhaps, like him, you'll find a way to shed light on the nature of motion. Or maybe you'll simply offer a modern take on his eccentricities.

As part of our Corcoran collaboration, we are looking forward to the special participation of students from Corcoran College of Art + Design and will be selecting at least one winner from Corcoran student submissions.  The contest is open to anyone from the public, however. (NOTE: Corcoran students, please tag your photos and video with Corcoran along with NPRMuybridge).

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Your submission can be something you create in the coming weeks or something you created long ago. But no matter what, we need it by May 15. And we need you to follow the instructions above very carefully so we can actually see your submissions.

Get Inspired

In the early 1880s, Muybridge awed crowds with his projections of animals and people.

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Using his clever invention, a zoopraxiscope, he was able to give photographic sequences movement for the first time. (Learn more about him in Neda Ulaby's radio piece on All Things Considered.)

Consequently, he "forever altered the way people would perceive and experience the passage of time," and "exploded the conviction that photographs could only record and document a moment of time," Philip Brookman, who curated the Corcoran retrospective, explains in a book about the exhibit.

Muybridge's influence is way too extensive to go into here, but a few examples include this Crystal Method video, this U2 video and this Francis Bacon painting.

Questions or concerns? Leave them in the comments.

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